Book Review – Touch by Courtney Maum

Tags

, ,

 

 

Touch  * By Courtney Maum  * G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Hardcover, $26.00 * May 30, 2017 * 303 pages

Courtney Maum had the guts to write a book that needed to be written. TOUCH is about the far-reaching ability of trend forecasters and our dependency on cellphone apps. The norm of employing all matter of electronic devices severely restricts our individual nature and our ability to make decisions for ourselves. Yes, there is a positive side to being connected. I’m one of the millions of people who has all manner of devices. As the author’s protagonist states, once in a while we have to put down our phones, tablets, laptops and reach out to each other the old-fashion way.

TOUCH introduces us to Sloane Jacobsen, an American trend forecaster and her French partner, former market researcher turned neo-sensualist, Roman Bellard, who is literally a man on a mission and beyond obsessed. Sloane began in the beauty industry, working her way up to unofficial creative director at a French cosmetics giant. But Sloane is at a pivotal point in her life where she’s focusing less on thinking about what will be the next popular “must have” and more on yearning to be part of a loving family.

When the opportunity comes for her to leave Paris, and head back to the U.S., she grabs onto it. Perhaps she would be able to renew her fading interest in electronics and new technology through a job offer with Mammoth, which is a huge, ultra-modern, forward-thinking app, furniture, and whatever else they can make a ton of money on company. Now, she’s dealing with trying to be the company’s motivator, organizer, and market diva. At home, she has to deal with a partner that doesn’t want to have a sexual relationship and dresses in a tight Zentai suit so he can’t be touched at all.

All I can say is the tension mounts and Sloane isn’t the only one that’s fed up with the loss of human touch and real relationships. Loved the book. Loved Sloane. Loved her self-navigating car. Loved the topic. Not in love with the partner at all. Yes, folks, this one will have you thinking about your technological addictions. Not sure what I didn’t like. Maybe that her family should have welcomed her back and showed her how much they loved her. Maybe how business really operates and doesn’t care about people at all.

Five hugs, kisses, and put down the damn cellphone out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

August 11, 2017

 

Advertisements

Guest Blog Post: How to Write a Mystery Yarn with Yarn By Betty Hechtman

Tags

,

9780425282687When you write a cozy mystery, you really have to create two stories.  The first is what really happened.  In other words who the killer is, why they did it and most important how they did it.  This story is told in order and not necessarily very interesting.  It’s also a good idea if you figure out the flaw that gets him or her caught in the end. It doesn’t really matter that it is pretty much “and then the killer did this and then they did that because the reader never sees that story.  It is purely for the writer.

What the reader gets is the other story which has lots of other stuff going on.  There is usually a crime, most often a murder near the beginning and then the clues from the first story are mixed up and put in out of order.  Some other suspects are added and perhaps a red herring while the amateur sleuth puts together the puzzle which reveals the first story.

In my case there are even more stories I have to come up with that are layered into the mystery.  Both of my series have strong romantic subplots, so I need to know how they are going to play out in a particular book. Both of my series have love triangles and it is a challenge to keep my sleuths juggling men.

Since I write yarns about yarn – okay I know your rolling your eyes on the corny play on words – which means I have come up with a whole other story line.

I use yarn crafts as a way to bring my characters together. Knitting  and crocheting are social crafts and it is common for people to get together in a group and talk while they work their needles or hooks.   They become friends and not only help each other figure out things with their craft, but help each other figure out things with their lives as well.  I personally belong to a group.  We have stuck together after losing the room in a hospital where we met, survived meeting in the food court of creepily deserted mall, and finally found a home in a Joann’s store.   If I was solving a mystery, I’m sure they would all want to help.

In the Crochet series, Molly Pink and the Tarzana Hookers have a much better deal and meet in a bookstore that  has added a yarn department.  Molly is the one who seems to be always tripping over bodies, but the Hookers are her cohorts in finding out what happened.  The fact they get together to knit and crochet makes it seem natural that they are in on what’s happening.

In the Yarn Retreat series, Casey Feldstein inherits a yarn retreat business from her aunt.  Again there is a reason for a group to be gathering.  They can be suspects, victims, or the killer. Knitting and crocheting is the glue that holds all the characters together.

You might wonder how I weave knitting and crocheting through the story.  It’s probably best to explain with an example.  The yarn retreat series is about a dessert baker who inherits her aunt’s yarn retreat business.  Casey doesn’t know a knitting needle from a crochet hook at the beginning of the first book, but as she puts on the first retreat she learns how to knit.  Since my books are meant to be read by non crafters along with yarn people, I need to keep it from getting too technical, but since a lot of my readers are crafters and I include patterns in all my books, I have to create an item that fits in with the story, but isn’t hard to make, and then weave it in with the mystery.  I try not to be too technical.  Knitting and crochet are not that foreign to most people.  We all wear sweaters and a lot of TV sitcoms seem to have granny square afghans hanging on a couch.

In A TANGLED YARN, the fifth book in the series, the original plan to have the retreaters learn arm knitting and finger crochet hits a glitch and Casey needs to come up with a plan B while finding herself wound up in a murder where people aren’t who they seem.

Very often Molly and Casey uses tools of the crafts to catch the bad guy.  I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give too much away.  Sometimes the clues are hidden in a knitted or crocheted item.

There is always a lot of food in my books as well.  I include recipes, so I do the same thing I do with the knitted and crocheted items – I make them part of the story.  In A TANGLED YARN, Casey has the challenge to come up with a muffin recipe that might help her make peace with the local police lieutenant whose wife has forbidden him to eat his favorite apple fritters.  Her final recipe is included.

***

About the author:

Betty Hechtman grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Arts.  She has been into mystery and handicrafts since she was a kid.  Being able to mix her two loves in the national best selling  Crochet Mystery series and the Yarn Retreat Mystery series is like a dream come true.  She has many eclectic interests and has taken classes in everything from improv comedy to magic.

She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays, along with a children’s mystery, STOLEN TREASURE which also includes the 13 year-old- babysitters favorite recipes.

The current release in the Yarn Retreat series is A TANGLED YARN and HOOKING FOR TROUBLE is the latest in the Crochet series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and a lot of yarn.

For more information, log onto her website: BettyHechman.com  or her Facebook page: Betty Hechtman author .

Guest Blog Post: The Domino Divas by Diane Vallere

Tags

,

9780425278307When I started writing Dressed to Confess, I knew the mystery would surround a dance troupe made famous for their performances from a previous decade. My inspiration was The Go-Gogos, who are probably my favorite band. At the time, I was only looking for a way to incorporate a group I loved into a story I was writing, but when I looked them up to see if there was any interesting backstory that I didn’t know about, I was shocked. Turns out when I wasn’t looking, a rift had formed within the group and one of the members had been ousted.

Here’s the part I love about research. You never know what you’re going to find, and you never know what you’re going to use. At least that’s what I told myself when I accessed the forty pages of legal documents I uncovered from “The Hollywood Reporter.” That’s right, I said forty pages!

You know that feeling when you’re in a public place and someone near you is discussing their dirty laundry and you can hear every single thing? And you know you’re not technically supposed to be hearing it, but you can’t stop listening, because DRAMA!

That’s how I felt while reading those documents. And two things became obvious: I wouldn’t be able to use the five women from the band as inspiration for my five-woman dance troupe, but in my story, one of those women (Ronnie Cass) was going to be the victim.

Reading those documents provided me with a sense of the kind of power struggle that builds up in that sort of group dynamic. And just like when I sat through a civil court case while writing the second book in this series, I realized this sort of drama exists all around us. The motive for murder didn’t come from the court documents (whew!), but vague idea for The Domino Divas did—as did the idea for the domino-inspired costumes that Margo makes for the Divas’ performance.

As for the other sources of drama that link back to Ronnie Cass and lead to possible motives for murder, well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out what else she did to get herself on somebody’s bad list!

(Oh. You mean you wanted to read the forty pages too? Here you go. Have fun! http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/ESQ/go-go-complaint.pdf)

Diane Vallere Links:

W: https://dianevallere.com

T: Twitter.com/dianevallere

F: Facebook.com/dianevallereauthor

YT: YouTube.com/PolyesterPress

P: Pinterest.com/dianevallere

IG: Instagram.com/dianevallere

Sign up for The Weekly Diva here: dianevallere.com/The-Weekly-Diva

Bio:

After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. DRESSED TO CONFESS, #3 in her Lefty-Nominated Costume Shop Mystery Series, came out August 1. Diane is the president of Sisters in Crime. She also writes the Samantha Kidd, Madison Night, and Material Witness mystery series. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes (and costumes!) ever since.

 

Book Review – If I Could Tell You By Elizabeth Wilhide

Tags

, ,

cover_if-i-could-tell-you

Book Review – If I Could Tell You

By Elizabeth Wilhide

A Penguin Original

Fiction

Feb. 28, 2017

$16.00, 309 pages. trade paperback

England, 1939

Before the bombing…

For Julia Compton, she’s at that point of her life where she’s asking herself, “Is there more to life than this?” Then England is on the brink of war with Germany. No one’s life will ever be the same.

There is the familiar sense of routine daily events where she cares for her husband, Richard,  and son, Peter, with the help of Henry, her housekeeper. There is the time spent discussing her husband’s job, and the regrettable preparing for Peter’s return to school. Time spent with her friend, Fiona, having a drink and conversation. What she doesn’t have is a passionate romance, no personal goals, or fulfilling career. There simply is no joy or comfort in her life.  That is until her son becomes fascinated with a documentary film crew trying to capture natural scenes of fisherman in their town. Julia knows that her interest in the film crew’s artistic director is forbidden, but finds it difficult to resist her need for passion. Dougie cannot deny the attraction.

The reality of war hovers over them like a storm. Fearing for his family’s life, Dougie sends his wife and children to Canada. Which leads to an affair with Julia. Letters are exchanged when they are apart and plans for secret meetings are made. Julia thinks only of filling the emptiness inside of her and not what this can do to her marriage or son.

Then Dougie wants her to leave her husband so they can be together more. It doesn’t seem to bother him that he’s already married. Unable to veil the emotional toll the relationship is causing, Julia begins to become withdrawn. Thinking she can share her difficult situation, she speaks to Fiona about it. In time, Richard learns the truth and tells her to leave. She is no longer a part of their lives.

The transition is difficult as she no longer has servants to do her housekeeping. She feels guilty, not for breaking her wedding vows, but for no longer being a part of her son’s life. Dougie is part of a creative group that she has never experienced, very open, artistic, and they don’t follow cultural mores. They have one party after the other, as well as partners, and Julia is always concerned that another woman will lure Dougie away.

“If I Could Tell You” transports readers to England during the Blitz. It begins before Germany’s air strikes, revealing the tension and fear of what will soon arrive. Soon they witness the destruction of property and the growing loss of lives.

Decisions change lives and can be difficult to live with. Often families severed all relationships with a woman who committed adultery. She had to find her own way in the world and during a war, I can’t even imagine her concern for her son’s safety. The end of the book brings Julia to an elevation of courage and growth, loss, renewal and betrayal. It’s a book worth reading for the time period portrayed. In terms of capturing love, I didn’t feel it. Passion, yes. The author captures her characters’ fears, flaws, anger and needs far better.

Four and a half film documentaries out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

August 6, 2017

Was given the book by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Guest Blog Post – CLOCK TOWER RESEARCH by Julianne Holmes

Tags

, ,

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

One of my favorite parts of writing this series has been the research. For me, the hard part is knowing when to stop researching, and when to start writing. When I decided to make the clock tower in the Orchard Town Hall the focal point of Chime and Punishment, I had a vague idea of what a clock tower looked like inside, mostly from movies. My plot relied on those imaginings. Thankfully, I know a clockmaker who offered me a chance to wind a clock in a tower.

I still remember the day I was telling my friend Susan about the clock shop series, and she said something to me that changed everything. “You know my husband is a clock maker, right?”

David Roberts runs the Clockfolk of New England [http://jimclockfolk.ipower.com/clockfolk/index.shtml] with his brother James. A visit to the shop, as well as to the wonderful American Clock and Watch Museum [http://www.clockandwatchmuseum.org/]  got my creative juices flowing about the clocks themselves. But talking to the Roberts brothers helped me understand the training, dedication, patience, precision, and passion that are required to be a clockmaker in 2017. These days, we can keep time with our phones. But clocks are much more than timepieces. That are works of art.

9780425275542Last summer Dave invited me on a field trip, to a clock tower in a church in Massachusetts. He, or James, or Susan, go there every week to wind the clock. That’s one of the things about clock towers I knew intellectually, but didn’t really understand until I went with them. Clock towers need to be wound every week. For this clock, that meant 50 revolutions per day, or 350 to keep it running for the week. The tower required climbing stairs to the balcony, and then ladders to the tower. It was hot, really hot. Clock towers aren’t typically air conditioned or heated.

Once I was up in the tower I realized I needed to rework the plot of the book. Clocks in clock towers are amazing machines, but they are more compact, not sprawling. The mechanism I saw was built by the Seth Thomas company in 1912. Now, the arms to the clock faces and the weights, they add more visual drama. But the clock itself was what inspired me. It was built to be in a tower where very few people would see it, yet there are details like an acorn topped brass screw that are lovely. There is a complicated simplicity to how the machine works. Simple in that I understood it, and marveled at the paddles that slowed down the bell so it wouldn’t ring extra times. Complicated in that I can’t imagine being able to dream up a clock in a tower. Things like the clock weights needing a special shaft because they needed to run the height of the tower so the clock could run for a week. That isn’t how my brain works.

But my brain does write mysteries, and my visit to the clock tower helped me think through my plot. It also helped me pay more attention to clock towers wherever we go, and silently thank the folks who keep them running.

So how did I use my clock tower field trip in Chime and Punishment? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

BIO

Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment had an August 1, 2017 release date. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters. JHAuthors.com T:@JHAuthors I: @jahenn

 

Guest Blog Post: Rhys Bowen on the Not-so-common language from England

Tags

,

9780425283509

It was Oscar Wilde who said that Britain and America were two nations divided by a common language. How true that is. It took me a while when I first moved to the United States to realize that many Americans didn’t know what a fortnight was or where to look in the boot of my car. Those things are obvious to me now, but there are still words that I don’t realize are exclusively English.  Words like ‘dogsbody, jumble sale, bits and bobs, gormless, spanner and skew-whiff. Do you know what they mean? (the U.S. equivalents are: grunt, rummage sale, odds and ends, clueless, wrench, off kilter).

This always presents a challenge for me when I write my Royal Spyness novels, in the voice of a young British aristocrat, Lady Georgiana. She obviously has to use the correct vocabulary of her time and class, but I also have to make sure what she says is intelligible. For example I once said that she had to open fetes. My American readers took this to mean festivals or celebrations, when a fete in England refers to a Garden Fete—a church or school or village fair to raise money with hoop-las and white elephant stalls (do you know what they are?)

And because my books are set in the Thirties, I have to make sure that the slang is current for the time. Yes, people really did say “What-oh?” and Top hole” and even “toodle-pip” in those days. They really called each other “old sport. Old bean or even old fruit”. All terms of endearment, by the way. But only the upper classes used these expressions. England has always been a land in which one’s vocabulary reveals one’s class. Can you remember the huge fuss a few years ago when Kate Middleton’s mother was deemed too common because she’d used the word Toilet instead of Lavatory?  This nearly broke up the relationship and made headlines for weeks. One headline proclaimed “Toiletgate.”

Cockneys, of course, have a vocabulary of their own. I have two Cockney characters in my books: Queenie the maid, and Georgie’s grandfather. A favorite expression of both is “Bob’s your uncle.”  This means everything will be taken care of smoothly.  As it, “We’ll pick it up again, put it back and bob’s your uncle.”

They also use rhyming slang, as in “apples and pears” for stairs.  Butcher’s hook for look. And sometimes it gets even more complicated when they say “let’s take a butcher’s,” meaning let’s have a look.

Really you need a few lessons before you can understand the British properly. If you travel there now you’ll hear confusing expressions like “Throw a wobbly” and “go pear shaped.” The former means to get upset and the latter means that everything starts going wrong. And if you try to write or sound English please don’t say “Pip pip, cheerio, or “ta ta for now” or “tickety-boo” or even “a spot of tea.” They all went out of favor years ago. And please, never make the joke about getting knocked up. We’ve heard it a zillion times.

So do tell me, do you find English idioms and vocabulary makes it harder to read books, or do you relish in this different word usage and the way it takes you across the Pond?

Blog Tour Post – Welcome to Elmwood, Indiana, Where Murder Is the Lifeblood  By Cozy Mystery Author Janis Thornton

Tags

,

Cover_Thornton

Elmwood, Indiana, the fictional town in which the ELMWOOD CONFIDENTIAL series is set, is much like the town where I grew up and lived three-quarters of my life. Both communities are tight-knit and revolve around a diverse assortment of citizens, high school sports, parades, festivals, chicken-and-noodle dinners, traditions and local folklore. While my hometown is generally peaceful 24/7 and murders are rare, Elmwood is plagued with murders. In real life, murder is tragic. But in a cozy mystery, murder is its lifeblood.

Long before I became a cozy mystery author, I noodled around with short-fiction. After noodling for almost ten years, I finally took the leap and started writing my first long piece.

I set it in a small, Indiana town that I named Elmwood and populated with an array of distinctive, often quirky, characters from which I could cast the story’s many roles. The starring role of protagonist went to Crystal Cropper, a Boomer-aged, former big-city crime-beat reporter, who’s as smart and fearless as she is snarky and stubborn. She had been content working at her West Coast newspaper, but due to changes she could not control, she returned to her hometown and became editor of the Elmwood Gazette.

JanisThorntonFilling co-starring roles are Crystal’s life-long and dearest friend, Verlin Wallace, the crotchety sheriff who leans on the newspaper editor and her superior detective skills more than he wants to admit; and Gertie Tyroo, an eccentric, 80-year-old cleaning lady, whose natural curiosity, observation skills, and access to her clients’ personal business have positioned her as Crystal’s most trusted confidential informant. Besides that, there is a secretive side to Gertie that even Crystal isn’t sure about. She suspects Gertie might have been in Dallas on November 23, 1963, and as a result, might be in the FBI’s witness protection program.

I wasn’t certain what I was doing as I developed my plot, hammered out scenes, killed the victim, introduced suspects, planted clues, and clumsily cobbled everything together. Thankfully, my loyal writers’ group approved of the way the story was going, offered helpful feedback, and encouraged me to continue.

And continue I did.

As I cranked out page after page, I looked everywhere for ideas. Nothing … or no one … was off limits. The town where I grew up and returned to after living in L.A. for 21 years, the neighboring community where I’d worked as the newspaper editor, city leaders, scandals, rumors, my best friends and acquaintances, people I didn’t know, and even my own life experiences — they were all fair fodder for my novel.

Once I established all the required elements of a whodunit, I drafted a basic outline. After that, I turned my characters loose and let them react organically to the situations I’d plopped them into. Then all I had to do was sit back and take notes. More or less.

For Book 1, “DUST BUNNIES & DEAD BODIES,” I followed the characters as they worked through the mystery and cover-up of the death of a young man, who had suffered a heatstroke during football practice, and the disappearance of his classmate. They took me places I might never have explored, such as the illegal use of steroids in athletics, elder abuse, and family secrets. For Book 2, the just-released “DEAD AIR & DOUBLES DARES,” they taught me to have empathy for the most hateful people we know because unbearable heartbreak might be what drives their hatred. That was the case for my victim. In addition, they also taught me about self-forgiveness and risk taking.

My characters never cease to surprise me and show me new ways of looking at life. I hope that carries over to the readers, along with a few good laughs.

I also hope readers who decide to take a chance with Book 1 and/or Book 2 of my ELMWOOD CONFIDENTIAL series learn something about human nature that they haven’t previously thought much about. And if they do, I invite them to send me a note at elmwoodconfidential@yahoo.com to let me know.

Most of all, I hope they have a good time in Elmwood and come back often.

*  *  *

www.janis-thornton.com

Facebook: @janisthorntonauthor

Twitter: @JanisThornton

Email: elmwoodconfidential@yahoo.com

 

Press Kits

 

New Title – “Lions and Tigers and Murder, Oh My” by Denise Swanson

Tags

, ,

Blog Tour – Excerpt of Dead Air & Double Dares An Elmwood Confidential Cozy Mystery By Janis Thornton

Tags

,

Cover_Thornton

 

Copyright © 2017 by Janis Thornton

 

“Hold on, Miss Cropper! We’re gonna crash!”

I knew it! Ever since my friends dared me to add “fly in a powered parachute” to my bucket list, I had known “Hold on, Miss Cropper! We’re gonna crash!” would be the last words I’d ever hear.

My young friend, Clip Parker, was piloting the floating two-seater cart—which looked more like a dune buggy dangling from an inflatable pool raft than a federally approved aircraft—hundreds of feet above the Elm County countryside with me seated behind him. We’d been enjoying the view for a half-hour without incident until some bird-brained, directionally impaired waterfowl snuck up behind us, flapped loosey- goosey into the aircraft’s propeller, and burst into a kaleidoscope of shredded feathers and shards of red. Bye-bye birdie. A second later, the cart’s engine choked on a glob of the organic fallout, coughed once, and died.

I lurched forward, wrapped my arms around Clip, and dug my knuckles into his burly chest for dear life. The kid was good, but he was no Sully Sullenberger. Not every pilot whose jet plane tangles with a flock of geese has the wherewithal to crash land on the Hudson River and watch his passengers walk away unscathed.

Cruising at thirty miles an hour generated a noisy wind that would have made conversation impossible if not for the two-way radio wired into our helmets. I had forgotten about the sensitive, audio connection, and possibly could have busted Clip’s eardrums when I screamed, “We’re gonna what?”

“Hold on,” he shouted back. “I’m bringing her down.”

Without a motor to keep the propeller spinning, our lives literally depended on the rainbow-colored parachute to keep us airborne. I’m sure it was the altitude causing my split-second lapse into hysterical clarity, when I started to think that gliding through the crisp, spring air was not a totally unpleasant sensation. For a moment, I flashed back to a childhood dream I once had where I was soaring with the eagles. I felt like shouting, “Whee!”—and would have if I hadn’t been about to die.

As we approached Elmwood from our lofty vantage, the city looked like a crocheted doily. Unfortunately, it lacked a single landing spot as smooth and soft as the meadow we had taken off from in the northern part of the county.

“Where are we going to set it down?” I yelled.

Clip pointed toward the southeast. “Over there,” he said, steering the cart’s nose in that direction.

I was confused. “Over there” was the courthouse steeple. Surely, we weren’t going to land anywhere near there. Several blocks beyond the courthouse was the local radio station’s five hundred-foot-tall transmission tower, and past it was the cemetery. I had no idea what Clip was referring to.

I have always taken pride in my ability to keep myself grounded—both feet firmly planted with my head bobbing some six feet above them. But I’ll admit I was

intrigued when Clip, my mechanic, who was a genius at tinkering with combustion engines, invited me for a ride on his new toy.

I mentioned it to the girls when we all met for a Tuesday night burger. They thought a ride in a powered parachute would make a great feature story for the Elmwood Gazette, my hometown newspaper. I’ve been the Gazette’s editor for just under a decade. But still, I hesitated. They assured me I would be fine, that Clip is a sensible young man, and he wouldn’t invite me to do something dangerous.

I sat for a moment while my common sense battled with my adventurous nature. Then my pals brought out the big guns … they double dared me.

Which is why I called Clip and left the message, “Sure, I’d love to go up in your powered parachute.” From then on, every time the phone rang, I feared it would be Clip calling to tell me weather conditions were perfect for our flight. The ideal conditions finally arrived early that morning. Memorial Day. How appropriate.

“Wait! Where are we landing?” I asked Clip again.

Below us, the neighborhoods, streets, treetops, automobile traffic, people—and even cats and dogs—were growing increasingly larger. I was beginning to think we had shifted into free-fall.

As if that weren’t alarming enough, we were on a collision course for the courthouse lawn, where approximately five hundred men, women, and children had congregated for the Memorial Day ceremony, complete with the community band and the American Legion firing squad.

“We’re going to die, aren’t we?” I gasped.
In the crowd below, people had begun to notice us and our flimsy craft. They

grinned and waved. They yelled “Helloooo,” which attracted the attention of others around them, who also joined in.

I stared at the innocent bystanders. “How many will we take with us?”

“Crystal,” he said, addressing me by my first name, which meant I must have really ticked him off, “you’re going to have to trust me.”

That was the last thing he said before the stampede. By this point, nearly everyone was waving and cheering at us. Then they realized that if they didn’t get out of our way, the funny-looking flying machine was going to mow them down like spring grass.

Panic took hold all at once, and the screaming crowd parted like the Red Sea, unwittingly clearing a perfect landing strip on the courthouse lawn. Clip gently touched down on the grass, and the cart taxied to a graceful stop with both of us in one piece. We were alive and unscathed.

I threw my arms around Clip and shouted, “Whee!” Sully Sullenberger, eat your heart out!

###

“Dead Air & Double Dares”
is available in ebook and print formats at Amazon.com.